The Mocha, Existential Angst and Goth Fairs (Food Memory # 23)

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on

Clad in Death’s costume

The door opens before me

Inside, frothers and hissing espresso

Greet ears

Innocence takes order

Fumbling at first time transactions

Bright ponytails bursting

From watchful nearby head


I am preparing

To take the liquid in

A drip coffee concoction

A minimal waiting

And soon it is in hand

As the ponytail’s face shines with interest

This time, unlike last time

I am


That familiar, bitter creamy sweet liquid

That first hot and delicious slurp

From the car seat

Unable to sit and write

In the coolness of the cafe’


That creamy sweet liquid

As I maneuver ’round curvature

Snaky mountain roads

Honoring yet holding bay

The everyminute reality

I am in a gigantic moving weapon


This creamy sweet bitterness

A courage

To face death

By simply driving

To face death

By simply intermingling with others

To face death


The Periphery starts to tingle

Feeling whole body outline

I am alive

Not knowing exactly what fills me in


I am alive

Showing up

Letting rich pleasure rushing

Over tongue

Down throat

Into bloodstream

Fanning courage

Across capillary fed cellular matter

To interact with Life

And attempt to play

With Death

Once more


This week I sought to re-create a memory of me, a very depressed and lost me, rising from bed and choosing to push through my darkness with the hope that a mocha would help me feel more interested in staying alive.

What a difference twelve years makes, as this time I rose from my bed excited to be alive. Excited to dress up in Gothy wear, excited to drink a mocha, excited (and a bit petrified) to drive into the city for the first time in 1.5 years. Excited to meet up with a whole bunch of others who were probably doing the same thing. Excited to meet up with people dressed up in various forms of creatively expressing the existential angst of being a human in our current reality–those who aim to try to play with this crazy darkness rather than succumb to it.

This time, unlike last time, where I slogged my body to the cafe and watched old ladies and dogwalkers with a longing, a how-must-it-feel-to-be-human kind of awe…this time although I generally still feel like a hollow bone walking, I am playful with it.

This time I felt the same feelings but a level of acceptance of this evanescent reality that seems to be me. This time, the mocha was an enhancement to help me get into “playing human,” but not my only reason to rise. This time I had breakfast in my belly before that black richness careened down my esophagus, unlike last time where nausea and minimal eating to numb what I could was my life.

This time the thick desserty dose of caffeine companioned me on the windy mountain roads to face that totally insane thing we do by driving. Hurtling at top speeds, basically towards each other only inches away from bashing together…just trusting the good conscience and sobriety of others driving their own weapons around me! This liquid helped me face the totally uncontrollable fact that I do not know when or how I will die, and that I can either sit in my home in fear or go out and live. Fully accepting that all of it is a risk.

Unlike last time where I was so disconnected from reality that friendships were scarce and difficult, this time I had friends I was driving these roads to join cautiously at a “World Goth Day” event in the city. Unlike last time where the normal facing of death by leaving the house created its angst within, this time I was entering into a public event with close proximity to others, masked and freshly emerged from cocoons of a deadly pandemic…this time was a whole different level of facing death.

But I was not alone–amongst black capes and hollow painted eyes, through people only inches and not feet from me–all of us doing our best to be darkly playful with this insanity we’ve all been through. There were lacy masks, and gremlin babies, coffin dotted parasols, apocalyptic vibrations and a strange giddiness in the air. A facing death but so fucking glad to be out of the house and playing again kind of giddiness. It was delicious, like the mocha riding in my cupholder, comforting and pleasuring me as I hurtled into the new world, risking and playing with darkness.

*Thanks for reading. Please join me next week as I re-create the food memory, “Pan-Fried Trout.”

**If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I am referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here:

or by searching for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.

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